Tennis: Pe'er bows out of doubles in semis

Pe'er and Belarusian partner Victoria Azarenka, who were seeded seventh in the prestigious event, were thrashed 6-0, 6-3 by No. 2 seeds Katarina Srebotnik and Ai Sugiyama in the semifinals.

Shahar Peer 224.88 ap (photo credit: AP [file])
Shahar Peer 224.88 ap
(photo credit: AP [file])
Shahar Pe'er's excellent run in the Sony Ericsson Open doubles tournament ended in disappointing fashion on Friday night. Pe'er and Belarusian partner Victoria Azarenka, who were seeded seventh in the prestigious event, were thrashed 6-0, 6-3 by No. 2 seeds Katarina Srebotnik and Ai Sugiyama in the semifinals. In the coming week Pe'er will begin the clay court season at the $600,000 Amelia Island Tier II event. On Saturday Serena Williams screamed at herself, broke her racket and then finally finished off Jelena Jankovic 6-1, 5-7, 6-3 for her fifth title at the Sony Ericsson Open. Williams survived an improbable comeback by Jankovic, who trailed 5-3 in the second set, and some shaky play down the stretch. Williams failed to convert seven match points in the final set, then finished the job with an overhead slam. Williams, who grew up in nearby Palm Beach Gardens, also won the tournament in 2002-04 and 2007. She matched Steffi Graf's record of five women's titles, while Andre Agassi won the tournament six times. Williams improved to 14-1 this year, with her only loss coming to Jankovic in the quarterfinals at the Australian Open. Nikolay Davydendo beat Andy Roddick 7-6 (5), 6-2 Friday night, setting up a title showdown with Rafael Nadal in the final of the Sony Ericsson Open. Earlier Friday, No. 2-seeded Nadal beat Tomas Berdych 7-6 (6), 6-2. Davydenko's victory denied Roddick a chance to savor his emotional win 24 hours earlier against Roger Federer, which ended a streak of 11 consecutive losses to the Swiss star. Standing 2 meters behind the baseline, the Russian began reading Roddick's booming serves well in the second set and rallied from a break down, winning the final five games. "If I come in a little bit to start to returning, I have no chance. It's too fast," Davydenko said. "It doesn't matter how you return - just in the court, and then you try your best." Davydenko has been playing under a cloud because of an ATP investigation into heavy and odd wagering on an otherwise insignificant match he played in Poland last August. Davydenko says he did nothing wrong, and he has criticized the ATP for not reaching a resolution in the case. "I feel good now," he said. "I forget really everything." He's the first Russian man to reach the Key Biscayne final, and he's seeking his first tournament title this year. He said he's playing well because he changed rackets before the event, and has used the same racket in all five rounds. "It has a little bit more string, and I have more control," he said. The 5-foot-10 Davydenko lost only five points on his first serve. Typical of his serving dominance was the eighth game, when he fell behind love-15, then won the next four points with two service winners and two aces. "The thing about him you normally don't see is the way he served tonight," Roddick said. In the women's final Saturday, Serena Williams seeks her fifth Key Biscayne title and second in a row when she plays No. 4 seed Jelena Jankovic. "I've played a great tournament," Williams said. "I'm just happy to be still in it and doing the best I can do. As long as I'm doing the right thing on the court, I feel like I can come out on top, but I just have to make sure I'm doing what's right." Nadal needed seven set points to close out a 73-minute first set against Berdych, then pulled away. Nadal committed no unforced errors in the second set, won 16 of 17 points on his serve and swept the final 12 points. Nadal gleefully skipped at the net when he put away a volley to reach match point. He then hit a forehand winner and sank to his knees in jubilation. "I am playing very well this tournament," Nadal said. "Today was a great match, too." Nadal, the runner-up to Federer at Key Biscayne in 2005, is pleased to be back in the final but unhappy to still be in the United States. The tournament traditionally was held in mid-March but now stretches into April because of its television contract, and Nadal complained the change condenses the upcoming clay-court season. "If you see the calendar, that is unbelievable," said Nadal, whose best surface is clay. "It's not fair." The 10th-seeded Berdych lost his serve for only the second time in the tournament to fall behind 5-3, but he dug in from there. Nadal had a set point in the ninth game, two more in the 10th and three in the tiebreaker before he closed out the set when Berdych double-faulted for the first time. Berdych sagged in the 85-degree sunshine. He began to struggle with his dangerous forehand and finished with 34 unforced errors to 11 for Nadal. "It was like my battery's gone," Berdych said. "If you are not 100 percent with him, then it's really tough to play."